Harford libraries celebrate Black History Month

Decendents of Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton gather around a painting depicting Sgt. Hilton raising an American flag in a Civil War battle. The group attended last year's dedication of the Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Bridge on Route 22 over I-95 honoring the Medal of Honor recipient.
Decendents of Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton gather around a painting depicting Sgt. Hilton raising an American flag in a Civil War battle. The group attended last year's dedication of the Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Bridge on Route 22 over I-95 honoring the Medal of Honor recipient. (MATT BUTTON/THE AEGIS/BSMG)

Harford County Public Library celebrates Black History Month in February with 10 events at libraries throughout the county.

"There's something for everyone to explore and learn at Harford County Public Library during Black History Month," CEO Mary Hastler said. "Our programming is very eclectic this year and ranges from a Black Gospel music experience to a book dedication to a virtual reality field trip with Google Expeditions. We invite all our customers to participate in these special events."


Gee's Bend Quilt Explorations is on display at the Aberdeen Library throughout February, giving customers the opportunity to explore the art and history of the quilts of Gee's Bend. The Aberdeen Library is at 21 Franklin St. in Aberdeen.

"Alfred B. Hilton: Harford's African American Medal of Honor Recipient" is the topic of a presentation by historian Jim Chrismer on Thursday, Feb. 1, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Joppa Library, 655 Towne Center Drive in Joppa. Hilton was one of the first African American men to receive the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military honor.


Sgt. Hilton, Harford County’s only native born Medal of Honor recipient, enlisted in the Army during the American Civil War at 21 years old. He was assigned to Company H, 4th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously after succumbing to injuries sustained at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm outside of Richmond, Va.

On Sept. 29, 1864, Sgt. Hilton was a member of his unit’s color guard carrying the American flag into battle. When the regimental color bearer was wounded, he carried the regimental colors as well. Sgt. Hilton carried both flags until he was severely wounded. He is buried in Hampton, Va.

Sgt. Hilton is one of 16 African-American Union Army soldiers who received the Medal of Honor for their service in the Civil War.

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will make its annual presentation of books to Harford County Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Havre de Grace Library, 120 N. Union Ave. The featured speaker will be Peter Byrd, author of "The Son of Seven Daughters: A 350-Year American Family Album." Byrd will discuss the book, which features the history of the 11 generations of his family in North America and what he learned about the United States, his family and himself while writing the book.

Books on Tap's February offering will discuss Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad" at Sean Bolan's, 12 S. Main St. in Bel Air, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Advanced registration is requested at the Books on Tap Meetup or at the Bel Air Library.

The 7th Black Gospel Music Experience takes place Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cultural Center at the Opera House, 121 N. Union Ave., across the street from the Havre de Grace Library. At this library-sponsored event geared toward the whole family, local gospel choirs and soloists will perform the sounds and history of Black Gospel. Participants will learn about the roots of Black Gospel and its place in the African American community today.

Booked for Lunch on Wednesday, Feb. 7, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Edgewood Library will focus on "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly. The Edgewood Library is at 629 Edgewood Road in Edgewood.

Take a guided virtual reality field trip and explore the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Ga., with Google Expeditions on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Aberdeen Library.

African American inventors are the topic of the Science Club for children in kindergarten through fifth grade on Wednesday, Feb. 21, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Aberdeen Library. Participants will explore the science and innovations of African American scientists and innovators.

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot is the topic of the Norrisville Book Discussion Group on Monday, Feb. 26, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Norrisville Library, 5310 Norrisville Road in White Hall.

"Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Francis Harper: 19th Century Freedom Fighters" will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Edgewood Library. Vivian Fisher, manager, African American Department, Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center, will lead a discussion about the lives and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Francis Harper, prominent African American abolitionists, social reformers and civil rights advocates with deep Maryland roots. Participants will discover lesser known stories about these freedom fighters and gain an appreciation for the legacy of resistance and progressive reform they left behind.

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 194,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 4.7 million. Harford County Public Library is the recipient of the 2017 The Daily Record Innovator of the Year Award. For more information visit hcplonline.org.


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